Black Swan October 2016




Black Swan Newsletter

October 2016

Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Lisa Martin




Greetings, dear Toastmasters,

Here is the October edition of the Black Swan Newsletter for your enjoyment.  I would like to encourage articles from all members; please write about your personal Toastmaster experiences, your clubs or how Toastmasters has helped you in the world beyond Toastmasters.  Share your tips and tricks, celebrate your club, celebrate your Toastmaster journey.  We would like to roll this newsletter out in ‘real time’, so that when we receive your articles, we will publish your articles.  Mostly, this newsletter needs to be ‘written by Toastmasters, for Toastmasters’. Please see guidelines for submission at the end of this newsletter.

Happy reading.

lisa coffee

Lisa Martin
Black Swan Editor
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District Director Update:

During September we submitted our Division and Area Director Training Report, our District Success Plan and our Budget to Toastmasters International for the year ahead. I am pleased to report that we have been credited with on time compliance for all of these significant requirements.

Each Area Director is busy attending club meetings and preparing their report to submit to Toastmasters International and us. I would like to thank you all for welcoming your Area Director, working with them to make your club the best it can be. Your Area Director is a valuable asset to you and the district as they create the critical link between you and your District leaders. If you need assistance or support to achieve your club goals, please make use of your Area Director. They will work with your Division Director to serve you. We are all working towards our common goal. Together we are an amazing team!

I recognize and acknowledge all the 72 Clubs who have submitted the September membership renewals on time. There are at least six clubs that I would like to encourage to renew at least 8 members. There still time for your club to remain in good standing.

We have now passed the first 90 days. As we round this significant turn in the Toastmasters year, again I encourage you to aspire to achieve your own targets. This will make your Toastmasters experience and life outside Toastmasters all the more gratifying. This year the messages we hope you receive is: “The Passion to lead, communicate and achieve your goals”.


Division Directors and District Officers at the Area Success Workshop

All about Area success workshop

We held a very successful District Executive Committee Meeting (DECM) on the morning of the 1st of October with attendance of 94%. Well done district officers. Thanks for your dedication and commitment. After the DECM, our Program Quality Director, Sue Fallon and Division Directors held a workshop “All about Area Success”. The focus of the workshop was to lay the foundations for building new clubs, and revitalising clubs. Here the team are hard at work figuring out possible locations.


Eastern Division Humorous Speech and Table Topics Final Picture 1 shows Bharat, Holly, Leonor, Anne Elise (L-R). Picture 2 shows Morrie, Mina, Tom and Charles (L-R)

The Eastern Division Humorous Speech and Table Topics Final was held in the afternoon of October 1st with great success thanks to all the efforts of the Eastern Division Director Judith Allen and her team of Area Directors: Bharath Kumar, Mina Cho, Adam Duda and Morrie Goodz.

Well done to all the contestants who took the challenge of stepping out of their comfort zone. Congratulations to all the winners who will proceed to the District Finals at the Convention at the Tradewinds Hotel, Fremantle in May 2017.

In the Humorous Contest, Charles Fisher of WA Governors placed 1st whilst Tom Bielski of Western Founders placed 2nd. In the Table Topics Contest, Holly Holly Buykx of Western Founders placed 1st and Anne Elise Charles of Jacobs placed 2nd.

We are fast approaching the Northern, Central and Southern Division Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests. I look forward to seeing all of our members in attendance to support their areas and divisions. Please consult our District 17 website for dates and locations of the contests.

 District Officer Training

On Saturday 19 November   At The Innovation Centre, Technology Park 9 De Laeter Way, Bentley.

The day will begin with the second round of District Officer Training (DOT) for our District Officers from 10-2:00pm. Our Region 12 Advisor Ellie Young will be presenting the training for our District team. From 2:30 to 5:00, will then have the District Council Meeting. All District Officers, Club Presidents and Club Vice Presidents of Education will be voting District matters and motions.

With this in mind, can you please submit any Agenda Items for the District Council Meeting to our District 17 Administration Manager:

Tracey Hudson (Steddy) email:

and please copy me to email: by COB Friday 30 October

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Congratulations for Club Award Progress


Congratulations to the above clubs for achievement provisional President (P), Select (S), Distinguished (D). Well done for your achievements.

Why provisional? Because final results are confirmed once the second round of training is completed and the second renewals in the April round are achieved successfully. That is minimum of 20 members or plus 5 members if the base number of members was below 20 on July 1 2016. Please can I encourage you to aspire to achieve your own targets. This will make your Toastmasters experience and life outside Toastmasters all the more gratifying. This year the message we hope you receive is: The Passion to: lead, communicate and achieve your goals
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Have you noticed that the District 17 website has more interesting looking front page? What about the “What is happening in and around the District and the recent News session? Well this is only the beginning. Keep coming back to check on various events and information.

Leonor Ragan

Leonor Ragan DTM

District 17 District Director 2016-17.

The Passion to: lead, communicate and achieve your goals

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Educational Awards September 2016

We are proud to celebrate these terrific achievements this month – 1 Advanced Communicator Bronze, 2 Advanced Communicator Silver, 1 Advanced Communicator Gold, 4 Advanced Leader Bronze,  16 Competent  Communicators and 6 Competent Leaders.

Fantastic result!30 Educational & Leadership awards lodged in the month of September – superb work District 17 Toastmasters!

ACB 09/18/2016 Pich, Samith Sandgroper Toastmasters Club
ACG 9/04/2016 O’Connor, Martin J. Competitive Speakers Perth
ACS 09/26/2016 O’Brien, Catherine Aspire Toastmasters
ACS 9/04/2016 Wilkinson, Ross Phillip Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club
ALB 9/12/2016 Cho, Mina Western Founders Toastmasters Club
ALB 9/12/2016 Bielski, Tom Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters Club
ALB 9/11/2016 Bielski, Tom Western Founders Toastmasters Club
ALB 9/05/2016 Wilkinson, Ross Phillip Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club
CC 09/28/2016 Keeley, Paris Lee Deloitte Perth Toastmasters
CC 09/28/2016 Durrans, Bryn Deloitte Perth Toastmasters
CC 09/28/2016 Andreazza, Steve Deloitte Perth Toastmasters
CC 09/28/2016 Loy, Mark Wen Yao Deloitte Perth Toastmasters
CC 09/28/2016 Mubyana, Nasilele 235 Toastmasters
CC 09/28/2016 Anderson, Jane Lee Curtin GSB Club
CC 09/26/2016 Davies, Eric Victor Central Communicators Toastmasters Club
CC 09/21/2016 Howe, William D. City of Perth Toastmasters Club
CC 09/20/2016 Macdonald, Graham R. Murdoch Southsiders Toastmasters Club
CC 09/16/2016 Anthony, Tania S Aspire Toastmasters
CC 09/14/2016 Voller, Troy P Bunbury Club
CC 9/11/2016 Law, Marianne Kwinana Toastmasters
CC 9/10/2016 Williams, Suzie J. Golden Gourmet Toastmasters
CC 9/09/2016 McMullan, Kim Fremantle Gourmet Toastmasters Club
CC 9/02/2016 Talpur, Noor Canning Vale Toastmasters
CC 9/02/2016 Wright, Heather Fremantle G
CL 09/20/2016 Meyer, Almarie Dynamic Speakers
CL 09/18/2016 O’Connor, Martin J. Sandgroper Toastmasters Club
CL 9/11/2016 Law, Marianne Kwinana Toastmasters
CL 9/08/2016 Yong, Beatrice Water Corporation Toastmasters Club
CL 9/05/2016 Wilkinson, Ross Phillip Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club
CL 9/04/2016 Willis, Hannah G Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club

Triple Crown Award September 2016

Catherine O'Brien

District 17’s newest Triple Crown Award winner is Catherine O’Brien. Catherine has achieved this year her DTM, an ALS and during September has earned her Advanced Communicator Silver award. Congratulations Catherine on your achievements to date

Your achievements continue to be lodged and our District Members are continuing to work on and receive recognition for their personal goals, as well as contributing to the Distinguished Club Program for their Clubs.

Make sure you are achieving your goals, and make sure that your Vice President Education is aware of your personal goals.

Sue Fallon District 17 Program Quality Director Perth Australia

Sue Fallon
District 17 Program Quality Director

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Do you know about the Video Brand Contest? Have you made your club video yet?

There is still time to enter the Video Brand Contest to have your club feature on the Toastmasters International website and win $100. The international contest is open till December 2016, so time is running out to win the $100.

All you need is a short video highlighting the good points of your club.

The current winners can be seen at

District 17 can beat this!

Here are some of the tips given by Toastmasters International on how to create a good video:


The first and simplest rule-of-thumb when shooting video is to always hold your device in landscape mode (horizontally). Shooting in portrait mode limits your viewing capabilities on other devices—it creates the dreaded “black bars” on each side of your footage when viewed on another device.


Unless you’re trying to be artistic, the general rule for shooting video on any device is to hold steady. Even if you think you have a steady hand, the slightest movement from breathing can make a video shaky. Find something to rest your phone on or against while shooting: the edge of a wall, back of a chair or side of a table.


Over the years, smartphones have integrated better light capturing capabilities— but bad lighting is still bad lighting, and bad lighting makes for bad videos. Try to avoid dimly lit places when possible. When shooting an object or person, avoid back-lighting your subject (i.e., when the light behind your subject is brighter than the light in the general area, like when a person stands against a sunny window). A simple fix is to switch places with your subject so that the light from behind you shines on and reflects off of him or her.


Like lighting, bad audio makes for bad video. When capturing someone speaking or any type of sound, make sure other sounds are not interfering. While an external microphone would be the professional fix, chances are you won’t always have a microphone handy—if at all. The best fixes for capturing sound are to simply move closer to the sound source, and find a quiet place where the unwanted sounds are minimised. Don’t forget to also submit the link to the video to to be registered as an entry to win the Positive Promotion Premiership. These entries won’t be closing, so if you don’t like your first video, you can always submit another.


Almarie Meyer
District 17 Public Relations Manager

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Youth Out Loud

Over two weeks in August, Toastmasters from Swan, Guildford Stars and Ellenbrook worked with Lachlan Denning, the City of Swan Youth Point Officer – Participation and Leadership, to prepare students and young adults from 11 to 25 years old for the Youth Out Loud Annual Public Speaking Contest.  The contest, which was help in September, has a strong community focus and participants are asked to address an area of concern in the City of Swan.  This year’s theme was “Reality Check”.


Eight workshops, involving 57 participants were run – seven at local high schools during the afternoon, and an evening session at the Midland Junction Arts Centre.  Eight Toastmasters in teams of two to five were involved in the two hour interactive workshops, which gave the participants practical tips on speech structure and presentation as well as impromptu speaking, which is a component of the Youth Out Loud Finals.   All the participants were very receptive and keen to learn.

The partnership between City of Swan and local Toastmasters Clubs began last year when Lachlan asked us to run one evening workshop for interested contestants.  Of course, we agreed.  Four Toastmasters from Swan and Guildford Stars were there for 10 students.  Of those 10 students, six reached the finals and three were winners on the night.

The success of the workshop, and the enthusiasm of Lachlan, led to the hugely expanded series of workshops we ran this year.  His enthusiasm and commitment were matched by my fellow Toastmasters who gave their time and experience – Neville Smith, Martin Lindsay, Gladys Lavell, Adam Duda, Peta Rakela, Janette Edwards and Ann Scoullar.


Participants were asked to complete an evaluation sheet and the feedback we’ve received from Lachlan has been fantastic:

81%  level of self-reported improvement in self-efficacy – confidence

79% Level of self-reported improvement in self-advocacy – ability to speak out


Even more rewarding were these comments:

“Thank you for all taking the time to help us with our speeches and give us the tips and boosters to perform the speech to the best of our ability”

“Thank you so much for the experience!”

“I think this workshop was great, everything explained very well”

“It was very entertaining and informative. I definitely feel more confident and relaxed when I’m on stage. Thank you so so SO much”


The finals were held on Friday 9th September.  Three contestants from each of the four division heats competed.  Speakers raised issues such as bullying, religious discrimination, domestic violence and homelessness.  It was wonderful to see and hear our future community leaders speak out about their concerns and to call for action from community leaders.

Being involved in Youth Out Loud has been a rewarding experience, both on a personal basis and as a way of promoting Toastmasters to our youth, their families and the community.  There has been some financial reward too.  This year we were offered a fee of $100 per session; an offer too good to refuse and a much needed boost to club funds.

7b - Judith

Judith Allen

Swan Toastmasters
Eastern Division Director
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Our biggest clubs are…

           … the clubs that meet weekly!!

That was definitely true at September 30, 2016, before the Renewals. The Renewals figures by October 1 show lower memberships.

At September 30 we had 82 clubs.  The 10 biggest clubs sorted by number of financial members, these are also the clubs with 30 or more members.

8 of these 10 clubs meet weekly.  All except Young Guns and Northern Lights which meet fortnightly.

Club Number Club Name Base
Jul 1
Mem bers
Total Goals Now DCP Status 2 CCs + 2 CCs 1 AC + 1AC 1 Cl or AL +1 Cl or AL 4 new mem bers +4 new mem bers 4 COT 1st +4 COT 2nd Rene wals Officer List
1133609 Canning Vale 48 55 7 (SD) 2 1 1 1 1 1 4 3 7 1 1
5769 Victoria Quay 41 51 9 (PD) 2 3 1 2 1 1 4 6 4 1 1
5491 Fremantle Gateway 38 45 6 (D) 2 1 1 2 1 5 4 3 6 1 1
1375364 Victoria Park 39 45 6 (D) 1 2 1 1 4 2 6 1 1
1304157 Applecross 41 45 3 1 4 5 1 1
1155864 UWA 34 39 1 1 4 1 4 1
6438 Murdoch Southsiders 33 34 3 2 1 0 7 1 1
995774 Young Guns 25 34 2 4 5 2 1
8924 Northern Lights 32 33 2 1 1 4 1 1
3022546 Willetton 26 31 2 4 1 4 1 1
Murdoch Southsiders
1344399 Aspire 20 28 6 (D) 2 1 1 4 8 6 1

I have listed another club up there which meets fortnightly with 28 members – Aspire.

That is because at September 30 we had in District 17 a total of 5 clubs that had already reached a provisional status of Distinguished or better – with at least 5 goals and a membership of at least 20. Aspire is doing very well.

David Nicholas

David Nicholas DTM
District 17 Webmaster
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FromExcuse Me’ to CC to Club Champion!


Never in my wildest dreams, or at the young age of 71 did I ever imagine receiving my Competent Communicator (CC) Award within 12 months of becoming a Toastmaster.  Especially, since I grew up with a speech impediment and I am also profoundly deaf. Until I joined the prospective Toastmasters club in Greenbushes, I had very poor communication and listening skills.  At school my hearing impairment had been all “too hard” to deal with by my teachers.  Subsequently, I spent a lot of time being ignored and/or sent to the back of the classroom!

When I joined Toastmasters I was still coming to terms with the recent loss of my wife.  You could say it seemed like sliding doors; “when one door closes another opens.”  In becoming a member of Toastmasters, this presented me with yet another new, and at the time, difficult challenge. Challenges such as learning to live one’s self and becoming the clubs Sergeant at Arms shortly after joining Toastmasters.  Although being nervous, this role gave me my first taste in public speaking.  Twelve months on my speaking abilities have improved by leaps and bounds. Unlike my hearing, which has not improved, except when I use the “Roger.” This device is ironically the name of my personal microphone, which enables me to hear when the speaker wears this device.

For achieving my CC Award and becoming a Club Champion, I have to thank the members of Toastmasters and especially my mentor Helen Thistlethwaite for giving me the confidence by showing me not only how to structure my speeches, but to “listen” to speeches and encourage me to actively participate in club meetings by giving speeches myself.  This has helped my communication skills immeasurably.

I also never imagined the friends I would make at Toastmasters, or the journey that I have travelled over the past 12 months.  Sadly the Greenbushes club closed its doors in July through lack of interest within the community. Now, I continue my journey with the Bunbury Toastmasters Club.  It is at Bunbury Toastmasters I became a Club Champion by winning the Humorous Speech contest in September.

Writing this article for the Black Swan allows me the opportunity to thank Toastmasters and my fellow members for showing me that anything is indeed possible!


Roger Davis CC
Bunbury Toastmasters Club

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Vocally Muzzled

I am on holiday in Singapore prepared to be incommunicado with the world back home. A blissful 8 weeks away from the daily grind of emails and text messages. Well, not entirely reclusive from everyone. I want to be in the driver’s seat, in control of when or who I wish to communicate with. Singapore is a techno-hub and it should be easy for me to connect world-wide anytime. Having bought a pre-paid mobile data plan with tethering abilities, communication would be a cinch. That was until I tried to log into my favourite mobile chat App; but it took a 500m walk to the shopping mall for a WiFi connection. At least that daily trudge brought me a fortnight of free exercise to offset my intake of local culinary delights! I have since resolved the problem with a simple “enable local data” command on my mobile and now my fingers can do the talking.

This brings to mind a poignant challenge – What if we are unable to communicate? Not because of technological issues but because we lack clarity. Verbal confusion is like trying to unravel a ball of tangled yarn, like million bits of thoughts criss-crossing in our minds. We must unravel the mess to extract an unknotted length of wool (logical thoughts) to produce the desired knitted pattern (message).

I ordered some food at a hawker stall in Singapore. The board declared $3.30 for pork congee with an egg. In my smattering of Mandarin I uttered, “$3.30 takeaway”. The seller muttered back, “3-3?” I nodded in affirmation but the seller started parcelling 3 separate packs. My mind flitted back to her question, “3-3?” Did she mean 3 packets of $3 each? In a panic, I asserted that I only wanted 1 packet! In the end the order was correct, but I was scolded for being anxious and stressing them out!

Our disorganised thoughts can cause failure to express ourselves clearly when in public. The Toastmasters program is important to enable us to get to the point, to be easily understood and remembered, and to prompt for action. The Competent Communicator Manual lays out the blueprint for each contributing factor towards a purposeful speech. Advanced Speech Manuals concentrate on specialised facets of speechmaking; informing, explaining; storytelling to build interest, using videos to enhance visual stimulation, employing our voice to evoke emotions and facilitating interpersonal communication. If we follow the guidelines of each Manual, we will start to habitualise these strategies in daily communication.

For Toastmasters who repeat manuals many times, there can be a tendency to gloss over the explanations in each project. Hence, we can get complacent and assume we know how to present each one. I have seen Toastmasters trip up over the Competent Communicator Project 4 Speech in using rhetorical devices and descriptive words. Have they become blasé in making speeches and ignoring objectives? Is ticking the project off more important? After 6 years I sometimes fall into the latter habit. This is malpractice which I am trying to kick. For me to improve, I need to revisit the tips again and again.

Fellow Toastmasters, let us put aside any temptation of shortcuts or complacency in our speechmaking. Instead, let us prepare each speech with purpose in order to gain higher ground in expressing our thoughts. The worst case scenario of not communicating ineffectively is akin to being vocally muzzled.

Portrait (resized) Stephanie Chan

Stephanie Chan
VP Public Relations Southern River Toastmasters
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Become a Black Swan author

Do you fancy turning your oral skills to written skills?  Do you fancy seeing your words in print? Would you like to become a master wordsmith?  We would like this newsletter to be written by you, for you. We are actively looking for articles for short, sassy articles (just 300-500 words);  tell us about your personal experiences as Toastmaster, or celebrate other Toastmasters, or feature your club.

We want to provide timely, high quality news which is relevant for Toastmasters, and which aligns with the values, goals and teachings of TM International.  We would like members to contribute inspirational TM stories, communication and leadership tips and tricks, and educational items.

Here are some guidelines to help:

Document Format

  • Please supply as a MSWord document
  • A template is available for easy use on the D17 website
  • Please save document as YourName.ArticleTitle_MM_YYYY

eg JoeBloggs.Toastmasters_are_amazing_ 11_2016

  • Preferred length 300-400 words. Articles must not exceed 500 words without prior agreement of the district committee and the newsletter editor.
  • Please use Headings 2 for title.
  • Please use Headings 3 for subtitles.
  • Please use arial or calibre or Times New Roman font – including signature
  • There is a template available if required.

Image format

  • Please supply images as JPEG format, with the best picture quality available
  • Please supply images separately to the document
  • Please save images as YourName.ArticleTitle_pic1; YourName.ArticleTitle_pic2 etc
  • In the text:
    • indicate where to insert eg Insert Picture 1 about here
    • state image title
    • supply names of people shown

eg Picture 1 – Photo of XXX club contest 2016; L-R Club President, Jo Blogs; Humorous Speech Winner, Joan Brown; Area Director, John Doe)

  • Please supply an up-to-date profile picture of yourself
    • profile pictures can be natural and informal, but appropriate for use
    • please supply the highest quality picture available

 Additionally, if photos of you appear in the newsletter and you prefer them not to, please contact me and I will edit them.

Lisa Martin
Black Swan Editor
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